13 August 2009

Snowflake Surgery

A couple of weeks ago, I found the PERFECT group for me. Snowflake Mondays. Never in my wildest dreams could I have dreamed someone other than me could concoct such a brilliant challenge – make a snowflake every Monday.

(And I can make it a more suitable challenge… Snap a creative and unusual photo of each new snowflake!)

I go through phases, and typically each lasts about two months. I quilt, sew, crochet, knit or embroider during my weekday commute on public transportation. My biggest challenges are trying not to stab fellow passengers when we stop unexpectedly and trying to fish various needles out of the seat or heater vents when I drop them due to unexpected stops or bumps.

I’ve been having such a ball designing and crocheting tiny bears on the way to work each day for the last 14 weeks or so, my current phase has yet to become boring. Throwing in an additional project one day a week is guaranteed to keep me from growing jaded until I break the world record for number of bears to inhabit a tote bag. Crocheting tiny bears is habit-forming.

Snowflakes are addictive, too. I made my first one in about 1981, with baby yarn, which didn’t work so well. Once I learned how to do them with thread, I was hooked and literally hooking every winter to fill my Christmas tree with new and improved lacy geometric masterpieces.

Because it’s been a while since I’d made a snowflake, I’d forgotten how fun it is to design them. Ever since I began the SnowMon challenge, I’ve found myself making them at home while I’m waiting on computer programs to run. Always multi-tasking…

I’d started yet another flake this morning while waiting for a CD of retouched senior photos to burn while simultaneously peeping out the window to monitor colors of the sunrise. I planned to shoot yet another snowflake sunrise and had taped my most recent snowflake to the window so I could capture it with the glowing golden orb behind it. (Didn’t your mother ever tell you never to look directly at the sun, especially through a telephoto lens?!?)

Everything finished at the same time, and I still had ten minutes before I had to leave for work. So I began pinning the snowflake to my starch factory, fashioned from a recycled pizza box. To my horror, I noticed I had added a couple of superfluous shells on one point. My snowflake was noticeably deformed!!!

Granted, real snowflakes aren’t always perfect, but crocheted snowflakes with extra shells are akin to teddy bears with extra arms. To me, the booboo just wasn’t appealing at all.

Under normal circumstances, I would have painstakingly taken the knot apart and unraveled so I could redo the faulty section. But I didn’t have that kind of time, and I knew if I waited, I wouldn’t want to fix it. I didn’t want my newest snowflake to wind up in the bottom of the already full “Things I’ll Fix One Day” drawer.

Without a second thought, I grabbed the sewing shears and cut between the two extra shells. Unraveling the one on the right was easy, just pulling out a stitch and redoing it. The one on the left, however, presented more of a challenge. Unraveling backwards is brain-coiling! After the amputation, I tied the two loose threads, wove the ends in through the neighboring stitches and pinned the snowflake to the pizza box for starching, which I then didn’t have ample time to do because it was past time to leave for work.

I gazed at the recovering flake for a few seconds, trying to see if I could tell what I had done. No blood. Not even my own! Suddenly it hit me that I had adopted special needs kids, and now I had created a special needs snowflake!

Too bad damaged kiddos don’t heal as easily as snowflakes!


  1. I am so totally in awe over your photography skills. Please don't forget to share this snowflake pattern. It too is beautiful.

    As others have mentioned, it's wonderful to hear the story surrounding the flake.

  2. I am NEW NEW NEW to snowflake crochet and have put together a STACK of patterns to try on my own Snowflake Mondays in 2010 - the tradition lives in on :-). However, nowhere in all the directions I have collected is the pattern for this one. Yet this snowflake reminds me of the ones I cut from paper as a younger person. Have you shared it or will you share it. I'll bet there is one similar in the twelve inches that fell outside today :-o Thanks.

  3. Welcome, Mom Linda! I do not believe I've written the pattern for that flake, and I don't think I have the flake anymore. Yikes! I think I gave it away for Christmas. But I do have a couple of good pictures of it (I think it's my widget flake!), so I can put the project in my stack of flakes I want to try to duplicate (there are about eight on there right now) and write patterns for. It might be a while! But I'll do my best.


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